How to Make a Bar Exam Study Schedule

Multiple choice questions on law school examsMany students feel overwhelmed when they sit down to study for the bar exam. You, too, may find yourself wondering what to do, where to begin,  and how to conquer this huge task.

In this post, we tell you a systematic way of making a bar review study schedule so that you can feel confident that you get everything done in a timely manner – and you will have time to review at the end. 

How to Make a Bar Exam Study Schedule

Below are six steps to making a bar exam study schedule. It will be helpful if you have a blank weekly calendar in front of you. Also, it is also a good idea to look at the mock bar exam study schedule below as an example.

1. Figure out when you are going to start studying for the bar. The mock schedule below assumes that you will start studying for the February bar exam in late December. We always recommend you start studying early rather than later – so if you are able to start earlier than that is even better.

2. Figure out when you want to stop learning new material in order to do a major review of all of the topics. Most people prefer to have at least one full week before the bar exam to review. If you would like more time than that to review, then it is a good idea to start earlier (if possible).

3. Fill in the weeks between your start and end date – and plan on covering one major multistate bar exam topic per week. If you have “extra weeks” (that is, more than seven weeks)  then spend extra time on your hardest MBE topics.  If you do have fewer weeks (that is, less than seven weeks) to study before your review week, then double up on the MBE topics that you find the easiest.

4. Add between two and four state topics to cover each week. It helps to cover them in groups and learn similar subjects during the same weeks (i.e. Agency, Partnership, and Corporations – the “business” topics – could be covered in the same week. Wills and Trusts could be covered another week). If some topics are more highly-tested than others, try to combine a highly-tested topic with less highly-tested topics.

When you study for both the MBE topics and Essay topics, it is important to spend half of your time learning the law by learning your outlines – and half of your time doing practice questions (both multiple choice and essays). Make sure that you are spending your time appropriately.

If you are required to take MPTs in your jurisdiction, add practice MPTs in your schedule as well.

5. During the last month, get physically ready for the exam. Make sure you have perfected your timing. Plan on taking entire exams – take both the MBE exam and the essay exam.  Simulate exam conditions.  Read our last-minute tips (We have plenty in our blog!)

6. During the last week, pack for the bar exam.  Make sure you have everything you need with you. Confirm your reservations. Figure out your mode of transportation. If you find yourself nervous or anxious, practice visualization before the bar exam. Start this a few days ahead of time to calm your nerves.

Note: We say “State topic” below. However, if you are in a Uniform Bar Exam jurisdiction, you will have seven MEE subjects (Corporations and LLCs, Agency and Partnership, Decedents’ Estates, Trusts & Future Interests, Family Law, Domestic Relations, Secured Transactions, and Conflicts of Law). These are not based on any specific state law!

Example of a Bar Exam Study Schedule:

December 28 – Jan 3
MBE TOPIC 1: Real Property
State topic:  Real Property/Creditor’s Rights
State topic: Personal Property
State topic: Equity 

January 4 – 10
MBE TOPIC 2: Contracts and Sales
State topic:   Contracts
State topic: Sale
State topic: Secured Transactions

 January 11 – 17
MBE TOPIC 3: Evidence
State topic: Evidence
State topic: Agency
State topic: Partnership
State topic: Corporations 

January 18 – 24
MBE TOPIC 4: Civil Procedure
State topic: Civil Procedure
State topic: Family Law
State topic: Professional Responsibility 

January 25 – 31
MBE TOPIC 5: Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure
State topic: Criminal Law
State topic: Criminal Procedure
State topic: Wills
State topic: Trusts 

Feb 1 – 7
MBE TOPIC 6: Torts
State topic: Torts
State topic: Workers Compensation
State topic: No Fault
*TAKE FULL ESSAY EXAM

 Feb 8 – 14
MBE TOPIC 7: Constitutional Law
State topic: Constitutional Law
State topic: Conflicts
State topic: Negotiable Instruments / Commercial Paper
*TAKE FULL EXAM

 Feb 15 – 21 review
Review all topics this week. 
* BAR EXAM SEMINAR
*TAKE FULL EXAM
pack for the bar exam
– practice visualization

Bar Exam Dates: (Last Tuesday and Wednesday in February or July)